NCAA Football News
In a game which had the looks of a blowout early, the Oklahoma State Cowboys were able to hang on and defeat the Washington Huskies by a score of 30-22 in the 2015 Cactus Bowl.
Freshman quarterback Mason Rudolph went 17-of-26 for 299 yards and two touchdowns. The signal-caller in particular got into a nice rhythm early. He had full command of the offense and looked decisive throwing the ball down the field.
Washington must've forgot about the game time, because the Huskies didn't come to play until the second half. It was a very disappointing effort across the board, and one which I'm sure will stick in the craw of head coach Chris Petersen for the duration of the offseason.
This piece will take a look at game grades for both teams throughout the contest. It will also address game analysis for the position units.
A full box score can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com.
Washington Huskies Game Analysis
The passing game was nonexistent in the first half. Cyler Miles looked like he had trouble gripping the football at times, because his throws had very little velocity on them. On the day, Miles went 25-of-38 for 268 yards.
Fortunately for Washington, both Jaydon Mickens and Kasen Williams stepped up and made big plays. Mickens was easily the most dynamic option for the Huskies, and should be going forward into next year. His quickness and agility on the perimeter posed problems for OSU. Mickens led the team with seven receptions for 82 yards.
Williams also flashed in his final game as a collegiate player. He was able to break tackles and accrue solid yards after the catch.
With that said, Miles generally did have problems throwing the football. It will be something to look at heading into the offseason, especially with Jake Browning heading to Seattle. With the complement of receivers on the roster, the passing game should be far more explosive than it is.
It was actually a pretty decent showing by the extremely young secondary. At times, Washington had three true freshmen manning the back end of the defense.
Early on, OSU had no trouble throwing the football. This was, in large part, down to the lack of pressure being brought by the front seven. The defensive backs were left out on an island, and as a result, were tasked with defending in one-on-one situations.
Outside of the long 47-yard touchdown to Brandon Sheperd and the 48-yard rumble by James Castleman, it was a solid showing. Sidney Jones IV in particular was very competitive, and has the look of a good Pac-12 corner down the line.
Budda Baker's one-handed interception was also extremely impressive.
The offensive line never was able to get much of a push. Credit to OSU for plugging the lanes between the tackles with both stunts and blitzes. While Washington didn't run up the middle very well, it did run somewhat well on the edge.
Dwayne Washington led the team with 42 yards on 13 carries, and the Huskies as a whole got 101 yards on 25 carries. With Miles struggling to throw the football, it would've made sense to try and establish the ground game more.
Featuring Miles and his legs (which could be his best attribute) also would've made sense. The longest run came via Mickens, who scampered for a 31-yard touchdown on a reverse.
The actual rushing numbers for OSU aren't overly eye-popping. The front seven held the Cowboys to a 3.1 yards per rush average. However, the tackling was not very good. Especially in the first half, Cowboys receivers and rushers were breaking tackles with regularity.
Additionally, the team got next to no pressure on Rudolph. There was more of an emphasis in the second half in getting after the quarterback and making him uncomfortable, but this facet of the game simply was lacking early on.
One positive did come early in the first half, when the duo of Cory Littleton and Danny Shelton forced a fumble.
It was a mixed bag for the Huskies tonight. Had it not been for the 95-yard kickoff return for touchdown by Ross, the grade would've been substantially lower.
Ross' touchdown was able to ignite the rally and give Washington some tangible momentum heading into the final quarter. Yet again, the display of brilliance shows why Ross needs to be utilized in some form or fashion on offense.
The usually reliable kicker Cameron Van Winkle missed a 43-yard field goal, and a botched handling of a punt return led to a fumble recovery by the Pokes. OSU was then able to cash in the turnover for a field goal.
Why wasn't Washington ready to play? Forget the schematic parts of the game momentarily. With more than a month to prepare for the game, it was perplexing as to why the Huskies played with no emotion or energy for the first half. That falls directly upon the coaching staff's shoulders.
From a game perspective, the offense had no rhythm or tempo in the first half. The plays were inspiring and certainly did not play to the strengths of the personnel.
Defensively, conventional wisdom suggests getting after a freshman quarterback with pressure. Instead, UW opted to rely upon its front four without wanting to blitz. As a result, Rudolph sat in the pocket comfortably and threw the ball all over the field.
The adjustment of bringing pressure wasn't made until the second half. At that point, it was too little, too late.
Oklahoma State Cowboys Game Analysis
As previously mentioned, Rudolph had a nice command of the offense. He was decisive with his throws and rarely looked rattled. The Rock Hill, South Carolina native finished 17-of-26 for 299 yards and two touchdowns. Rudolph was accurate on throws to all parts of the field and spread the ball out well amongst his receivers.
The passing attack for next year looks incredibly bright. In addition to Rudolph, receivers Brandon Sheperd and James Washington were both dynamic. Sheperd led the Pokes with five grabs for 98 yards and a touchdown. Washington's one-handed 28-yard touchdown displayed why he's the future at the position for OSU.
Oh, and James Castleman's 48-yard rumble was a thing of beauty. Just to let you all know, he's OSU's 6'2", 300-pound starting defensive tackle.
The secondary did a nice job of jockeying with UW receivers early in the contest. Perhaps most impressively, the secondary (and entire defense as a whole) tackled extremely well. Most of Washington's quick-throw offense is predicated upon making the first man miss in space. OSU simply didn't allow this to happen.
In the second half, Washington's tempo did give the secondary some issues. Mickens in particular was able to make some plays down the field. However, it was a strong showing by the unit across the board. The longest pass play for Washington only went for 23 yards.
Corner Kevin Peterson iced the game away with an interception in the final moments of the contest.
Desmond Roland was the unsung hero Friday night for the Pokes.
He was the workhorse for the offense, getting the tough yards and proving stability in backfield. Roland finished with 123 yards on 32 carries. His ability to carry the ball effectively was key in taking pressure off of his freshman signal-caller.
An added wrinkle featured Castleman as a runner. Positioning himself as the wildcat quarterback, the starting defensive tackle was able to punch it in from a yard out to give OSU its first touchdown of the contest.
OSU did a fantastic job of plugging the holes up front. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer called timely blitzes and stunts, which forced UW to try and bounce most of its runs to the perimeter.
Linebacker Seth Jacobs was also a stud on Friday night. He was everywhere on the field, flying around making tackle after tackle. Jacobs has the looks of a future All-Big 12 performer before his career is over. The unit was solid, allowing only 101 yards rushing on 25 carries.
Much like Washington, it was not the greatest effort by the special teams unit.
The good: Kicker Ben Grogan converted on three field-goal attempts. Punter Kip Smith was excellent in switching field position and pinning Washington within its 10-yard line on multiple occasions. The coverage unit also was able to pick up a fumble on a muffed punt attempt by Washington.
The bad: The coverage unit also allowed a 96-yard touchdown on a kickoff. Grogan also missed a 27-yard field goal, which would've put the Pokes up 11 with under a minute to play. Instead, it offered Washington a chance to tie the game.
Unlike Chris Petersen, credit to Mike Gundy for having his team prepared to play. There was no question OSU was the most energetic, physical football team for the first half. The underdog mentality suited the Cowboys just fine in this contest.
Also credit Gundy and his staff for devising a complete game plan on both sides of the ball. Defensively, the Cowboys completely shut down Washington in the first half. The Huskies looked like a high school team in comparison.
Offensively, Gundy did the smart thing by relying upon the run game early. This opened up things in the passing game for his freshman quarterback, and the offense as a whole functioned quite well.
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Washington mounted a ferocious second-half comeback, but it was too little, too late for the Huskies. They fell, 30-22, to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the TicketCity Cactus Bowl Friday night at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.
Washington quarterback Cyler Miles finished 25-of-38 for 268 yards, one touchdown and an interception. That turnover proved extremely costly, coming on the Huskies' final drive of the game as they attempted to tie it in the final seconds.
Miles' opposite number, Mason Rudolph, picked up his second career victory, throwing for 299 yards, two TDs and an interception on 17-of-26 passing. Desmond Roland provided the freshman with plenty of help, rushing for 123 yards on 32 carries.
Kyle Fredrickson of The Oklahoman singled out the Oklahoma State offensive line for opening up holes for Roland against a tough Washington front seven:
This is the ninth year in a row that Oklahoma State qualified for a bowl game. The Cowboys needed a victory over rival Oklahoma in their final game to get here, but they made it nonetheless.
It's an unparalleled streak of success for the school, and one that head coach Mike Gundy knows not only helps on the recruiting trail but also allows more inexperienced players to gain invaluable time on the practice field, per The Seattle Times' Adam Jude:
But the streak is important for us to have those practices, which we did over the last three weeks. Those 12 practices are very important for us to develop the younger players, the guys that we've talked about and you've talked about in the press, that are first year players. They were told two weeks ago that they’re now essentially second year players because they've got a season under their belt. But those practices are really important. I think it’s vital for us to continue to develop our program and work to get better.
Plenty of teams before have used victories in lesser bowls as a jumping-off point in the pursuit of greener pastures, Oklahoma State included. Just look at how the Cowboys parlayed their Alamo Bowl success in 2010 to a Fiesta Bowl victory the following year.
The school looks to have a bright future ahead. ESPN.com's Jake Trotter thinks the rest of the Big 12 is on notice:
On Friday, the Cowboys helped carry the conference flag in a way that few Big 12 schools have so far. Entering the game, the Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences had differing fortunes throughout this year's bowl season, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Although Oklahoma State almost certainly didn't care about preserving the image of the Big 12, the Cowboys helped the conference regain some prestige.
Of course, some will likely wish that they finished the game with the same ferocity with which they started it. OSU dropped 24 points on Washington in the first half, dominating the Huskies on both sides of the ball.
Oklahoma State defensive tackle James Castleman picked up the seldom-seen fat-guy touchdown to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter. Castleman took the snap out of the Wildcat and ran it in from a yard out:
Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer joked that between that TD and Bryce Petty's 18-yard touchdown pass to 390-pound offensive guard LaQuan McGowan in the Cotton Bowl Classic, the Big 12 was establishing itself as the pre-eminent home of the fat-guy touchdown:
Wideout James Washington hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass with one hand to double the Cowboys' lead, 14-0, with 16 seconds left in the first quarter.
Three of the Huskies' first four drives ended in three-and-outs. The other resulted in a Cameron Van Winkle missed field goal after Washington started with the ball on the OSU 28-yard line. They mustered no offense to speak of for almost the entirety of the first half.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys padded their lead with a 40-yard field goal from Ben Grogan to start the scoring in the second quarter. Then, 48 seconds from halftime, wide receiver Brandon Sheperd added another touchdown, putting on the brakes as Washington defensive back Kevin King blew by in pursuit, as illustrated by ESPN College Football:
Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman thought the junior might have taken pointers from Tom Cruise before the game:
Oklahoma State couldn't have asked for a better start. The Cowboys outgained Washington 293-113 heading into halftime and prevented the Huskies from converting on a single one of their six third downs.
Rudolph was a bit hit-or-miss. He threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns in the first half but had a fumble and an interception on consecutive drives. OSU was a bit lucky Washington didn't turn either of those turnovers into points.
In order to have any chance at a comeback, the Huskies needed to do something special on their opening drive of the second half. They did exactly that, with wideout Jaydon Mickens taking a reverse 31 yards to the house and trimming the deficit to 17 points, 24-7, with 11:48 left in the third quarter:
Grogan hit another field goal to give Oklahoma State a 27-7 lead, but the Huskies weren't done. On the ensuing kickoff, return man John Ross made a couple of moves and then turned on the afterburners to smoke OSU's coverage team for a 96-yard return touchdown.
Pac-12 Networks attempted to encapsulate Ross' emotions as he headed for paydirt:
That quick TD helped Washington regain some momentum, but the team couldn't break through.
Head coach Chris Petersen gambled on a 4th-and-6 on Oklahoma State's 37-yard line with roughly nine-and-a-half minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys stopped Miles two yards short of the first down.
On the next drive, Grogan split the uprights with his third field goal of the game with a little under six minutes left, putting a major dent in Washington's comeback hopes. Mickens got his second touchdown of the game, this time coming on a 16-yard pass from Miles, but the Huskies still needed another TD and a two-point conversion to tie the game.
Following a missed field goal from Grogan, Washington got the ball on its own 20-yard line with 43 seconds remaining. The odds were against the Huskies from the start of the drive, and Miles' interception resigned them to defeat.
This is Washington's third bowl loss in four seasons. Petersen's obviously a talented coach, though, working wonders with Boise State in the past. The infrastructure is there for the Huskies to climb up the Pac-12 totem pole. It's only a matter of time before they put it all together.
Trotter, meanwhile, penciled in Oklahoma State as a contender to rival Baylor and TCU atop the Big 12 next year:
The 2014 season was always viewed as a bit of a rebuilding year for the team given how many players the Cowboys lost from last season. Making and winning a postseason bowl is a nice accomplishment for this team and a great way to start 2015.
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Running back Paul Perkins’ crucial contributions in No. 14-ranked UCLA’s 2014 season finale—a 40-35 defeat of No. 11 Kansas State in Friday’s Alamo Bowl—set the tone for the Bruins’ 2015 campaign.
Behind its breakout star, UCLA will be a contender next season.
Perkins scored the Bruins’ final touchdown of the season on a 67-yard run, capping a career-high 194-yard performance.
Then, after a quick Kansas State score, Perkins was the first player to the ball on the Wildcats’ ensuing onside-kick attempt.
Ending the year on such a high note provided the perfect close to Perkins’ monster season, in which he became the first UCLA player to lead the conference in rushing since 1995. His 194 yards Friday gave him 1,575 for the year.
A host of returners for next season in addition to Perkins made significant impacts in Friday’s season finale. If momentum from the bowl season carries over into the next campaign, linebacker Deon Hollins should roll into 2015 with all the force he brought on three sacks of Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters.
With linebacker Myles Jack making plays in space and grabbing and interception, and wide receiver Jordan Payton finishing with a team-high four receptions, the Alamo Bowl proved UCLA has plenty to look forward to in the next year.
Just expect the Bruins to embark on the coming months with far less fanfare than a year ago around this time.
An offseason of hype surrounded UCLA throughout the 2014 offseason, thanks largely to the return of quarterback Brett Hundley, the only starter head coach Jim Mora's known in his three years at the helm.
Hundley delivered in his farewell game, rushing for 96 yards and two touchdowns to go with 136 yards passing and a third score.
Replacing his dual-threat playmaking is a tall order for head coach Jim Mora and his staff in the coming offseason. Having Perkins will help, as offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone told Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times.
"[Perkins] takes the pressure off the quarterback and having him have to try to make every play," Mazzone said.
Still, in a sport wherein pundits heap credit or blame one position, depending on the situation, uncertainty at that spot means the Bruins can likely forget being a top-10 team to open 2015.
Less attention might be a good thing from UCLA’s perspective. Following the Bruins’ 31-10 loss to Stanford on Nov. 28, which denied them a berth in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Jack said getting away from the pressure of outside expectations buoyed the Bruins during their five-game winning streak in the second half of the regular season.
A quiet offseason matches the disposition of its new offensive star, Perkins. Soft spoken off the field, his play speaks loud and clear.
Around Perkins, the UCLA offense also returns every player in its receiving corps who made an impact this season, and the line will be among the most veteran in the Pac-12 after two years as one of the league’s younger units.
Mora and his staff have other issues to iron out in the coming season that emerged during the Alamo Bowl, and kept UCLA from matching its lofty expectations in 2014. The Bruins nearly had a 25-point halftime lead evaporate, which made Perkins' late heroics necessary.
UCLA was also flagged 15 times for a staggering 128 yards. The team came into Friday's game ranked No. 117 in the nation at 70.9 penalty yards per game.
Certainly the Bruins have their question marks. But with Perkins part of an experienced lineup, UCLA can fly under the radar as contenders next season.
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In a game that looked like a blowout for UCLA, the Kansas State Wildcats stormed back in the second half only to be denied right at the death, as the Bruins won the Alamo Bowl, 40-35, despite leading 31-6 at one point.
Brett Hundley and Paul Perkins both had great days, as did Jake Waters and Tyler Lockett.
With that, let's check out the game grades for both teams, starting with the Bruins.
Rush Offense: Behind Brett Hundley and Paul Perkins, who rushed for 96 and 194 yard, respectively, the Bruins racked up 331 yards on the ground and exposed K-State's front line. It was a 67-yard run in the fourth quarter that ultimately buried K-State.
Pass Offense: Obviously since UCLA racked up over 300 yards on the ground, Hundley didn't have to pass that much. He finished with just 136 yards but did have a touchdown through the air.
Rush Defense: Despite K-State being a traditional running team, UCLA gave up just 31 rushing yards and didn't let K-State establish a tempo in the run game all night.
Pass Defense: Tyler Lockett could yell out to his defender "they're going to pass the ball to me on this play," and it wouldn't have mattered to UCLA, apparently. The Bruins got toasted by Lockett, who had 13 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns. As a whole, the Bruins gave up 338 yards through the air.
Special Teams: The Bruins special teams didn't play a major role in the game, which is always good. It means there weren't any mishaps.
Coaching: Even though Jim Mora won the game, the Bruins committed 15 penalties and nearly coughed up a 25-point lead. That's all on the coach.
Kansas State Wildcats
Rush Offense: K-State was limited to just 31 yards on the ground on 32 carries—meaning they averaged less than a yard per carry. If the Wildcats could've established a ground tempo early, they may not have fallen behind the way they did.
Pass Offense: It seemed as though Tyler Lockett and Jake Waters were going to bring K-State back all by themselves, and they nearly did. Waters finished with 338 yards, and Lockett ended his career as a Wildcat with 164 yards and two touchdowns.
Rush Defense: The Bruins toasted the Wildcats on the ground to the tune of 331 yards, and it was a big run by Perkins late in the fourth quarter that finally buried Bill Snyder's squad.
Pass Defense: Brett Hundley didn't exactly rely on his arm in the game, but that's partly because the Wildcats weren't letting themselves get beat over the top. Despite a battered secondary, the Wildcats gave up just 136 yards through the air.
Special Teams: There was a penalty that negated a Tyler Lockett touchdown return, and that could've played a bigger role than we'll ever know. But despite that, no significant shakeups in the special teams department.
Coaching: In the first half, it appeared Mora was completely outworking Snyder. In the second half, it was Snyder and his staff's play-calling that nearly brought K-State back from 25 points down. It's always tough to beat Snyder, and it took a 25-point cushion to ultimately do it.
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Apparently some Florida State fans don't take losing well.
The Seminoles had ripped off 29 straight wins before suffering a 59-20 defeat in the 2015 Rose Bowl on Thursday. They had not lost since Nov. 24, 2012, and they had won a national championship during that incredible run.
However, some fans only care what their favorite team has done for them lately. That has never been more apparent than it was when the Seminoles returned to Tallahassee after losing in the Rose Bowl.
Florida State linebacker Anthony Valdes tweeted out some unfortunate news after returning to campus:
Valdes understood that it wasn't the entire fanbase that committed this act of vandalism:
The Seminoles are now 29-1 in their last 30 games, but some fans only care about that one loss. What a shame.
[Twitter, h/t Deadspin]
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The No. 14 UCLA Bruins almost snatched defeat from the jaws of victory before downing the No. 11 Kansas State Wildcats, 40-35, in the Valero Alamo Bowl Friday night inside the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The overarching theme of UCLA's season—and arguably the Bruins' past few seasons—was that it could look dominant one week and utterly hopeless the next. The Bruins beat Arizona State on the road by 35 points on Sept. 25 and then lost to Utah at home a little over a week later. Later in the year, they also followed up a nice victory over USC with a defeat to Stanford.
CBS Sports' Tom Fornelli made the point that UCLA was one of the most maddening teams to watch all season:
The Bruins provided the full UCLA 2014 spectrum in the Alamo Bowl, at some points looking unstoppable and appearing helpless at others. They nearly squandered a 25-point halftime lead before running back Paul Perkins found an opening and burst through the Kansas State defense for a 67-yard touchdown run to make it 40-28 with a little over two minutes left in the game.
Prior to the run, Kansas State had outscored the Bruins 21-7 and dominated possession in the second half. UCLA had run 15 plays for 62 yards in the third and fourth quarters before the scoring drive, compared to 43 and 208, respectively, for the Wildcats.
K-State wideout Tyler Lockett made it interesting with a 29-yard touchdown reception, but Perkins recovered the ensuing onside kick to extinguish the Wildcats' comeback attempt.
The Bruins averted a potential disaster, and it was fitting that Perkins saved the day since he was arguably their best player. He rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. The Wildcats simply had no answer for the sophomore's speed when he got into the open field.
As a team, UCLA rushed for 331 yards, compared to 31 for Kansas State. With that kind of disparity, it's surprising that the Wildcats were even within striking distance in the second half.
Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters attempted 48 passes, the highest total of his career. Although Waters had 338 yards and two TDs through the air, Grantland's Matt Hinton found his team's reliance on the passing game a bit concerning:
In what is almost certainly his final college game, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley didn't exactly go out with a bang, throwing for 136 yards and a touchdown on 12-of-24 passing. He did add 96 yards and two TDs on the ground.
UCLA head coach Jim Mora revealed on Dec. 11 that Hundley would forgo his final season and head to the NFL, per Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register:
Hundley's UCLA career might not have gone exactly to plan, considering he was labeled a Heisman Trophy contender before the season. Still, the junior quarterback helped the Bruins win a total of 29 games during his three seasons, and beating a Top 15 team like Kansas State is a good way to go out.
In the first quarter, UCLA demonstrated how deadly it could be, scoring on its first three drives of the game, with a 27-yard field goal by Ka'imi Fairbairn sandwiched by two rushing touchdowns from Hundley.
Hundley put the Bruins ahead a little over two minutes into the game with a 10-yard TD run and then made it a 17-point game with a minute and 25 seconds left in the first quarter, following a 28-yard TD scamper.
Pac-12 Networks provided a nice visual for how much the field opened for the signal-caller:
Kansas State answered with two field goals from Matthew McCrane to cut the deficit to 11 points, 17-6, in the second quarter. The Wildcats missed a major opportunity, though, before McCrane's second and left points on the board.
Lockett, a second-team All-American return man, took a Matt Mengel punt 41 yards to the UCLA 15-yard line. Despite that great field position, K-State went three-and-out, with Lockett dropping an easy pass in the end zone on third down. Mike Hammett of 1150 KSAL in Salina, Kansas, felt that play was a microcosm of Kansas State's game to that point:
Perkins compounded the Wildcats' misery 7:29 from halftime, breaking free for a 32-yard touchdown run to give the Bruins a 24-6 advantage, a play Pac-12 Networks highlighted:
Hundley picked up his first passing touchdown in the game with 19 seconds left in the half, finding a wide-open Devin Lucien from seven yards out to grab a 31-6 lead.
As Kartje noted, UCLA was thoroughly dominating the Wildcats heading into halftime:
Fox Sports' Tim Brando felt that UCLA's performance was all the more impressive given how few times this season Kansas State was decidedly outplayed:
The Wildcats received the ball to start the second half and embarked on an impressive 17-play, 75-yard drive that ate 7:37 off the clock. Waters capped it off with a three-yard touchdown pass to Lockett. The two connected for the two-point conversion to trim UCLA's lead to 17 points, 31-14.
Then, a mere two plays after Lockett's TD, Perkins fumbled on his own 30-yard line. Linebacker Dakorey Johnson recovered to give the Wildcats possession on the UCLA 21-yard line.
Kansas State nearly wasted another red-zone possession, but Waters converted on a 4th-and-1 on the 12 to keep the drive alive. A personal-foul penalty from Myles Jack on the next play put the Wildcats at the 2 with a 1st-and-goal. Running back DeMarcus Robinson then punched it in to make it a 10-point game, 31-21, with 3:25 left in the third quarter.
Kellis Robinett of The Kansas City Star and The Wichita Eagle felt that that TD helped breathe life into the Wildcats faithful seated inside the Alamodome:
A 44-yard field goal from Fairbairn stopped the bleeding for the Bruins.
The problem for the Wildcats was that they were not only fighting against UCLA; they also had the clock with which to battle. After Fairbairn's field goal, Kansas State had 15:33 to make up 13 points. While that might seem like a lot of time, the Wildcats offense isn't built to score a lot of points in a short period.
Waters made it a one-score game in the fourth quarter, 34-28, but the scoring drive took a little over six minutes, leaving the team with 4:54 to stop UCLA and then march down for the potential game-winning TD.
Hinton joked that they knew no other way than eating up every single second of a game:
Perkins' run likely hastened the inevitable, effectively putting the contest out of reach for Kansas State. Too many things needed to go right for the Wildcats even after Lockett's late TD in order for them to win.
Following the win, Mora and Snyder exchanged a curiously brief handshake, though it's unclear what caused Mora to pull away so promptly. Chris B. Brown of Smart Football provides footage of the exchange:
A bowl victory is a nice way for UCLA to end the season, but there's no question that until the Bruins become a more consistent team, they'll continue to be on the outside looking in on the Pac-12 Championship race.
Finding an adequate replacement for Hundley will be Mora's top task of the offseason.
Coming up short after such a ferocious second-half comeback is a disappointing conclusion to the Wildcats' 2014 campaign, but they arguably played above expectations overall. Most expected Baylor or Oklahoma to run away with the Big 12, but K-State finished one game behind the co-champion Bears and TCU Horned Frogs.
As long as Snyder's prowling the sidelines, Kansas State will continue to be in the conference-title discussion.
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The 2015 recruiting cycle has officially hit crunch time, as coaching staffs across the country look to lock up key commitments just a month shy of national signing day. All-American events often accelerate the process since premier prospects annually take advantage of the spotlight to declare their collegiate intentions.
This flurry of activity swiftly alters the recruiting landscape, improving potential for some programs and crippling the hopes of others. Here's our latest look at college football's top classes, giving an edge to teams that have addressed needs and accumulated top-to-bottom quality.
Recruit ratings courtesy of 247Sports' composite rankings.
More than 100 of the nation's top high school football prospects took to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Friday for the eighth annual Under Armour All-America Game. It was our first chance to see some of college football's next crop of superstars square off against similar top-tier competition, close to what they'll face in 2015 and beyond.
The final score—Team Highlight romped to a 46-6 win over Team Armour—and the individual and team statistics don't matter much; how certain players looked will make a lasting impact. For players who have already committed to a school, this gave those teams' fans an opportunity to salivate over upcoming standouts, while the uncommitted had an opportunity to give a huge boost to their recruiting stock.
We saw a lot of both and learned a heck of a lot more about the class of 2015's best and brightest. Click through to see the five biggest lessons learned from the Under Armour All-America Game.
While both Alabama and Florida State crashed and burned in the semifinals of the inaugural College Football Playoff, Friday's 2015 Under Armour All-America Game proved the future is extremely bright in Tuscaloosa and Tallahassee.
Even though the start of the new year brought disappointment for both Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher, their pain was likely temporarily numbed after witnessing the display put on by their recruits.
The Crimson Tide and the Seminoles combined to have 21 total commitments represented during Friday’s game—in which Team Highlight defeated Team Armour by a score of 46-6.
Overall, it was a showcase for the two clubs who have the nation’s top two recruiting classes in the 2015 cycle and have combined to win the last three national titles.
Multiple standouts from Florida State's No. 2-ranked class flashed their talents during Friday's game.
Fisher's acumen at evaluating quarterbacks was once again on display—even though his latest proteges were the lowest-ranked passers coming into the game.
Deondre Francois—one of three quarterback pledges the 'Noles had in the game—was the most consistent passer on either team. The 4-star prospect hit all four of his passes for 103 yards and a 24-yard touchdown pass for Team Highlight.
De’Andre Johnson—a 3-star FSU pledge who led Team Armour with 72 yards of total offense—accounted for his squad's longest play from scrimmage and was the lone passer on his team who didn't throw an interception.
Even Kai Locksley—who is committed to Florida State as a quarterback but played receiver during this week’s game—wowed onlookers during practices and with a 36-yard reception in the game.
Locksley was Team Highlight’s third-leading receiver in the game, behind future teammates 5-star George Campbell (two catches for 68 yards) and 4-star Da’Vante Phillips (three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown).
Phillips was on the receiving end of a scoring strike from 5-star quarterback and Alabama commitment Blake Barnett.
The 6’5”, 200-pound California native turned in an efficient performance by completing five of his 10 passes for 66 yards with the one touchdown toss.
While future Tide studs such as Barnett and 5-star receiver Calvin Ridley were making noise on the field, the Tide were also the biggest winner on the sidelines as 5-star corner Kendall Sheffield and 4-star defensive tackle Daron Payne announced their commitments to Alabama.
Even a former Tide pledge—4-star receiver Daylon Charlot—ignited Team Highlight’s rout by scoring on a 53-yard punt return in the second quarter.
Per Sonny Shipp of Geaux247 (subscription required), in spite of his recent decommitment, Charlot still could end up back in the Tide’s 2015 class.
"Alabama is still my favorite," Charlot told Shipp. "The receivers that they are losing and with LSU getting more receivers. Alabama’s only offered like three receivers so that gives me a little better opportunity."
The performance from each team's group of commitments was a reminder that neither Florida State nor Alabama are ready to fade from the national spotlight anytime soon.
Considering the wealth of talent Saban and Fisher are bringing in, fans of the Tide and the 'Noles can take solace in that their programs will be well equipped to compete for national titles in the years to come.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
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